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MS Wants Laws To Block Products Made By Software Pirates

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the grasping-at-imported-straws dept.

Microsoft 617

kaptink writes with this quote from Groklaw: "Microsoft seems to be trying to get its own personal unfair competition laws passed state by state, so it can sue US companies who get parts from overseas companies who used pirated Microsoft software anywhere in their business. The laws allow Microsoft to block the US company from selling the finished product in the state and compel them to pay damages for what the overseas supplier did. So if a company overseas uses a pirated version of Excel, let's say, keeping track of how many parts it has shipped or whatever, and then sends some parts to General Motors or any large company to incorporate into the finished product, Microsoft can sue not the overseas supplier but General Motors, for unfair competition. So can the state's Attorney General. I kid you not. For piracy that was done by someone else, overseas. The product could be T shirts. It doesn't matter what it is, so long as it's manufactured with contributions from an overseas supplier, like in China, who didn't pay Microsoft for software that it uses somewhere in the business. It's the US company that has to pay damages, not the overseas supplier."

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Good for US economy (1, Insightful)

devokso (2026060) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610102)

Huh, unfair competition laws? Don't you think it's only fair if companies can't buy from companies using pirated software who sell at lower price because frankly they don't need to pay as much costs as lawful companies?

If something this prevents even more work force and money going out of the country to cheap countries like China and puts US companies to a better position again.

I understand that some of you people want to allow piracy for personal use, but this is business. You're making money off pirated products. If such activity wasn't punished then companies could just set up sister companies or even pure proxy companies in countries like China and ignore all and any copyright. Now that US businesses can't just do that, they might even start hiring US work force again and get the economy better. Microsoft and other companies are right in doing this.

Re:Good for US economy (3, Insightful)

Partaolas (1926386) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610138)

"Unfair competition laws" == Laws against unfair competition.

The problem here is that GM is not competing with Microsoft.

Re:Good for US economy (3, Insightful)

m50d (797211) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610356)

Their supplier is competing unfairly with US suppliers, though. I think we already have similar regulations for environmentally damaging suppliers? To my mind this is no different.

Re:Good for US economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610150)

Exactly! I have very little issue with this idea because you are right, the foreign companies are unfairly competing by lowering their production costs through not paying for any of the software that they use.

This could also help encourage more American jobs since the costs would be slightly more equal between using American workers and foreign companies (wage differences are still a huge consideration of course).

Re:Good for US economy (0, Offtopic)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610308)

Competence differences are the real problem.

Every time I have to deal with products using Indian call centers for "customer service", I come away aggravated. They can't imagine any problem that isn't on their fucking script, they have no idea what to do when the problem isn't on the script, and when you ask to speak to their supervisor they either lie and put the guy from the next folding-table over on the line "yes this is supervisor" or else they just fucking hang up on you. Trying to get something advance RMA'ed? Good fucking luck hoping they ever write your address down correctly even after you spell it out letter by letter.

Chinese or Korean-manufactured? Might as well hang a sign on it saying "expect it to fucking break and not work properly after the first month, and good luck getting the company to ever bother honoring their fucking warranty." And yes that includes Apple, who dicked me around for 3 months trying to claim my ipod "got wet" (it didn't, Apple just deliberately uses hypersensitive moisture strips [ilounge.com] that trigger on their own if you live anywhere that the humidity gets above 50% with any regularity).

Oh, and you nice wonderful left-wing fucktards who love the "no borders, one world government" movement? Remember, those nice cheapy products come on the backs of slave labor, tiny wages, zero worker safety protection laws, and zero environmental protection laws.

"Free trade" is a tool of the robber barons, nothing more.

Re:Good for US economy (2)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610454)

I am curious, how is it that people in US get worse treatment from call centers in India, than people living in India itself. Personally I have not really had any bad experience with Indian call centers(though for some reason calls to MS seem to be routed to a US based call center from India.. weird)

Re:Good for US economy (1, Interesting)

Ollabelle (980205) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610546)

"Left-wing..." who love the "no borders" globalization, with "no worker safety protection laws, and zero environmental protection laws." Man, I must have my politics mixed up; that sounds totally Republican to me. Either that, or you simply blame the other side for everything and your beloved party for nothing.

Re:Good for US economy (1, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610614)

Centrist.

The left-wingers "open borders" types are the bleeding-hearts who conveniently forget the damage caused all around by their policies. These are the idiots like Clinton who thought NAFTA was a good idea.
The right-wing robber baron types (that run the Retardican party these days) gleefully exploit "free trade" to ship jobs away and re-create slavery wherever they can.

The end result is, the people in the middle get fucked over.

Of course, it wasn't always this way. Before the robber barons started in with union-busting (Wisconsin is just the latest in a long line of that sort of crap, most of which has flown very much under the radar), the left wing used to stand against "global free trade" and actually did things to protect the working class. Now, good fucking luck with that one.

Re:Good for US economy (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610190)

Sure sure, that all makes sense and I agree with you. However now you owe MS $100 for posting on /. because slashdot had communication with someone in China who used a cracked IE browser to post an advertisement and a cracked excel to track the income that made the guy in China money. What you don't believe me? Well you're going to have to spend a few tens of thousands of dollars to prove your innocence.
Please make your check out to
Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-6399

Re:Good for US economy (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610200)

I see a bigger problem: patents.

If this is projected out to its logical conclusion, Microsoft could effectively shut down any business using Linux because as we all know, Linux is just chock-full of Microsoft intellectual property. This will allow Microsoft to extract license money like never before until it shuts down FOSS entirely.

Re:Good for US economy (1)

rolfc (842110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610272)

No, Linux does not contain any Microsoft Intellectual property.

If you continue to maintain that view, please present some evidence in favor of that. Microsoft has not succeded with that.

Re:Good for US economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610382)

Doesn't matter. If MS can even suggests that someone who helped build Linux (any distribution) had a cracked copy of any MS product then anyone who uses Linux owes MS money, at least according to the summery.
oh and btw, I'm pretty sure the parents post about Linux having MS intellectual property was sarcasm.

Re:Good for US economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610446)

I was being sarcastic but Microsoft is actively selling Linux patent licenses and people are buying them. They are succeeding.

http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/28/100033867/

Re:Good for US economy (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610608)

oh they keep saying it is but they don't want to actually tell anyone what because they know damned well that the next day updates would be pushed out with everything they claim to own replaced.

Re:Good for US economy (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610232)

I trade IT expert. I shield you.
Five dollars is all my shareholders allows me to spend.
Okay! Ten dolla each.
What do we get for ten dollars?
Ubuntu you want.
Everything Ubuntu?
Everything.
Well, old buddy, feel like spending ...

Re:Good for US economy (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610300)

I understand that some of you people want to allow piracy for personal use, but this is business.

Except, how is a business supposed to know if its suppliers are running pirated software?

This basically says that Microsoft now demands that anybody buying a widget from anywhere in the world effectively enforces a software audit on its suppliers. You know what happens if you tell your supplier they need to open up their stuff to you for scrutiny just in case they're doing something offensive to a 3rd party? They laugh at you, and cancel the deal.

If I'm buying foam packing peanuts from China, do you really think I have the clout to get them to prove to me they haven't pirated Excel? Because, that's what this bill is asking for. This is a stupid law, and one that tries to make enforcement of Microsoft's products the responsibility of people who might not even be in the computer industry.

It's just not practical or feasible.

Re:Good for US economy (5, Funny)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610470)

Also, if you are buying XYZ from China and selling it to MS, do they sue themselves?

Re:Good for US economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610634)

It would make an interesting test case, wouldn't it? But it also wouldn't be the first time that a company has sued or screwed itself.

Re:Good for US economy (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610658)

Too bad there's not an "Insightful + Funny" mod, because if anyone has ever deserved it, you do. :)

Re:Good for US economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610346)

I understand, and agree, that business is business and should be conducted in an absolutely orderly manner. What I'm concerned with is: who verifies this/enforces it/audits it/etc - if these are foreign companies it even goes as far as a national security threat in terms of economic warfare due to the ability of a foreign government to claim a malpractice, not enforce it, but disclose a list of customers that is or is not valid and becomes enforceable by our law - placing a very safe bet on the greed of a few to destroy the country's economic backbone. Though I suppose its already happening so 1 more mechanism toward this couldn't possibly hurt more, right?

Re:Good for US economy (4, Insightful)

cbiltcliffe (186293) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610348)

In that case, Microsoft should no longer be able to blame business partners, contractors, customers, or whatever for their own problems, either.

http://www.computerweekly.com/Articles/2011/01/20/244979/Microsoft-blames-third-party-for-excessive-Windows-Phone-7-data.htm [computerweekly.com]
http://theregoesdave.com/2009/10/15/microsoft-goes-schizo-starts-blaming-danger-for-lost-data/ [theregoesdave.com]
http://www.itnews.com.au/News/70560,microsoft-blames-vista-insecurity-on-third-party-applications.aspx [itnews.com.au]

You can't have it both ways, Microsoft. You want GM liable for software piracy in China, then you should be liable for Windows 7 phone phantom data usage.

haha moron (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610370)

excuse me but i couldnt hold myself. your logic is so glaringly naive that i am appalled to even start commenting on it.

leaving the idiocy aside, are you aware that this kind of law will basically put any corporation in the place of a 'rights holder' which will be able to ban/unban ENTIRE physical industry sector products and corporations by just filing a complaint like DMCA ?

we are talking about allowing the custodianship of the exports/imports to private corporations.

some hardware manufacturer is competing with microsoft sidewinder line of products ? file a dmca complaint 'hey they are using pirated excel' !!! -> whooops ban.

who is going to prove that they are using pirated excel ? who is going to ensure that they arent ? who is going to ensure that they have stopped using pirated excel ?

will the foreign nation allow american inspectors and american bureaucrats on its soil, and the foreign private corporation in foreign country allow those inspectors full access to their sensitive information ?

no. even contemplating it is morondom. really. there is no politically correct word for this - any such usage will dilute the meaning - this is blatant morondom.

i cant describe it in any other way ; the people who came up with this plan at microsoft, are MORONS. and they should be fired post haste before they drag the company to even worse depths of morondom and public relations/public image disaster.

Re:haha moron (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610500)

OP is simply another of devxo's shill accounts :(. Check timestamp, history, name, uid, etc. He probably modded himself up with his 25 accts.

Re:haha moron (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610632)

indeed. quite so - it is modded, somehow, insightful.

Not a good idea, really... (2)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610390)

> this prevents even more work force and money going out of the country to cheap countries like China

I totally agree, in fact, I think the chilling effects might be so vast as to prevent US companies from even daring to do business with any foreign companies. This of course depends upon how the damages will be computed: will they be like the $75 trillion Livewire damages proposal, in the case where the foreign company actually shared Microsoft products via P2P?

> and puts US companies to a better position again

Well, if you think that a total mutual embargo (because, face it, the other countries of the world aren't idiots, when the US stops doing business with them, they will do the same) between the US and the rest of the world would be good for US companies, you would be right. I think that most people wouldn't agree with you.

OTOH, I would think this might give a big push for foreign companies to move to dropping Microsoft totally and using open-source instead. In fact, if I were a US company in the position where they had no choice but to deal with a foreign company, I'd be feeling much, much, more comfortable if the company were using open-source and not Microsoft. How on earth could I even audit that foreign company for compliance if it were using Microsoft products? OTOH, even if they would be using open-source, my company would still be opening itself to being sued in the case where some "mole" introduced illegal copyrighted code into the project, something which is trivial to do since computer code doesn't come magically labeled with indelible copyright notices.

Re:Not a good idea, really... (1)

qbast (1265706) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610598)

How exactly using open source helps? If you have to trust your foreign partner that they use *only* OS (and don't have even single computer with copy of XP somewhere), then you can as well trust them that all their copies of Windows/Office/whatever are licensed.

Good for Linux adoption (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610430)

Seriously, this is a great thing for Linux adoption. Tons of companies are going to switch to pure-(F)OSS environments to avoid the issue entirely, like that guitar accessory company that got reamed by the BSA (Ernie Ball). [cnet.com] This will counter the "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" attitude nicely. Nobody ever got their ass sued off for running (F)OSS.

Re:Good for Linux adoption (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610488)

That's because nobody runs your gay Linux cocksmoker shit.

Re:Good for Linux adoption (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610640)

Nobody ever got their ass sued off for running (F)OSS.

Except Novell. Oh, and Google. Filtering down to a company near your in 3... 2...

Re:Good for US economy (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610436)

Huh, unfair competition laws? Don't you think it's only fair if companies can't buy from companies using pirated software who sell at lower price because frankly they don't need to pay as much costs as lawful companies?

No. It is possible for a company to keep track of its own licenses, though it's often difficult, but expecting them to track *other* companies' licenses as well is simply insane and idiotic.

Tell me, is there anything in, say, the latest MacBook Pro from Apple that was manufactured or assembled by a company using "pirated" software? now let's see you prove it.

If something this prevents even more work force and money going out of the country to cheap countries like China and puts US companies to a better position again.

And watch as the price of all kinds of gadgets, from watches to cars, rise a whole order of magnitude minimum. Not that the anti-offshoring crowd cares much for that, or any other effect their little ideals may have really, but still.

Re:Good for US economy (1)

Zemran (3101) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610452)

Have you even started to think this through? Any law that prosecutes one person for the crimes of another is madness and will do more harm to American businesses than the little gain that Microsoft will make from this. The only people that will really profit will be the lawyers (as usual). Very soon you will have lawyers searching through the records of any random company to find out who they are supplied by and they will search for an infringement without regard to whether or not there was any knowledge of said infringement. This is complete madness. How would you defend yourself against such an accusation? You cannot compel an oversees company to appear in a US court (but then neither can Microsoft). You could end up in a situation where one side bribes witnesses to appear and you cannot get a defence because they are all in India and do not want to set foot in the land of likely to be arrested even if they could get a visa.

Re:Good for US economy (1)

Jon Stone (1961380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610534)

Do you think this will be applied uniformly to all companies, or do you think it'll only be enforced against companies that are Microsoft's competitors?

What do you think will happen when one of HP's hypothetical suppliers in Taiwan is found to be using pirated software? How about the Taiwanese supplier's other US customer, who happens to make Android mobile phones?

Re:Good for US economy (1)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610572)

So whats next.... if a thief sells some watches, and then uses the money to buy a soda, you think its fair that the stores bank gets made to pay fines for accepting deposits from someone who made his money selling to thieves? Or maybe the store should be fined?

Or maybe, companies are supposed to audit eachother? Now is this infringement under US law... or local law? What if the two are incompatible?

I think this is ridiculous but.... maybe good. I hope it leads to more use of free software worldwide.

OK (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610126)

I'm cool with that. Let's add a law that says that if your company steals the source code from a partner's product that as punitive restitution they get a perpetual, non-exclusive right to your entire source control for the product which bundled the stolen goods.

Fair is fair, Microsoft.

Hypocrisy much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610166)

I'm cool with that. Let's add a law that says that if your company steals the source code from a partner's product that as punitive restitution they get a perpetual, non-exclusive right to your entire source control for the product which bundled the stolen goods.

Fair is fair, Microsoft.

Nope. You're asking for punitive and retributive treatment, in far excess of the injury, especially since in the events you describe, they already have legal remedies that would include forcing companies to stop shipping a product.

You just want something more, not because you have any desire for justice, or fair treatment, but because you, obviously, hate Microsoft with the passion of a thousand suns!

Sorry, but you don't get anywhere by becoming them. Don't pretend you are being fair. You're just being vengeful. But you cannot defeat the Dark Side by joining it.

After maybe, but you still need to leave it like Darth Vader did.

More complicated than a carbon tax. (5, Interesting)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610134)

If Microsoft China employs engineers who wear pirated Nike t-shirts, can Nike sue Microsoft?

Re:More complicated than a carbon tax. (3, Insightful)

qbast (1265706) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610208)

Sure they can. Also if Microsoft engineer works on computer which contains a chip produced by Chinese company employing janitor wearing pirated Nike t-shirt. Why restrict chain of responsibility to one or two links?

Re:More complicated than a carbon tax. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610372)

So, can Nike sue Microsoft if it employs an engineer working on a computer which contains a chip produced by a Chinese company employing a janitor which uses a broom manufactured by a chinese company which uses a computer manufactured in Taiwan whose welcome desk uses a computer manufactured by a company which employed a transportation company which uses pirated software?

{"brain_state":"blown-up"};

Re:More complicated than a carbon tax. (1)

qbast (1265706) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610506)

Shortcut for confused: everybody sues everybody else. US completes transition from services based to lawsuit based industry.

Re:More complicated than a carbon tax. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610260)

right on, soon airgas will be suing everyone and their brother because they bottle o2, and people using o2 from the atmosphere will be cutting into thier profits.

/. News Network (2)

Even on Slashdot FOE (1870208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610142)

Microsoft buys new laws to make it criminal to import parts from most of Asia, news at 11.

Unfair Competition for Pirate Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610152)

They are using MS products so we conclude that they are disadvantage users.

this is an EU concept... (4, Insightful)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610158)

...and it's not as insane as it seems. Regulation is usually to protect the small guy while the big guys have the lawyer power to avoid it. By phrasing regulation in terms on unfair competition laws, you end up with big businesses paying to enforce regulation. Which do you prefer:
(i) One big business forcing another business to abide by some law;
(ii) That same big business also ignoring the law.

Perhaps the underlying law is unjust. But then you tackle the underlying law - you don't tackle some principle which makes it harder to enforce a law. Let us have more rule of law and less rule of men, yes?

Re:this is an EU concept... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610516)

...and it's not as insane as it seems. Regulation is usually to protect the small guy while the big guys have the lawyer power to avoid it.

You, are the most insane person I've ever read the writings of, or you are a paid PR person on behalf of this nonsense.

By phrasing regulation in terms on unfair competition laws, you end up with big businesses paying to enforce regulation. Which do you prefer:
(i) One big business forcing another business to abide by some law;
(ii) That same big business also ignoring the law.

Once again, you're nuts or a very bad PR person (at you're job, not making a statement on you're morals) - with this you get both, without it you get neither.

Perhaps the underlying law is unjust. But then you tackle the underlying law - you don't tackle some principle which makes it harder to enforce a law. Let us have more rule of law and less rule of men, yes?

There is no underlying law that is unjust regarding this concept currently - there is a lack of proper enforcement of existing laws and someone trying to add another unenforceable law (unenforceable only so long as illegal collaborations can take place to make it enforceable by an adequately-sized legal team - something a small corporation or person could never do).

Law is meant to rule men, more rule of law is more rule of men, and you're haphazard quips are pathetic - I hope if you are as bat-shit insane as you sound you will promptly commit suicide and rid us all of you're lunacy, if you are just a bad PR person I hope you at least get replaced by someone competent enough not to turn against a company I otherwise love (Microsoft, seriously, even though I'm posting on /. I worked in Redmond and love that place). You are an utter disgrace to the Human race in any regard, its embarrassing, really.

Re:this is an EU concept... (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610592)

Perhaps the underlying law is unjust. But then you tackle the underlying law - you don't tackle some principle which makes it harder to enforce a law. Let us have more rule of law and less rule of men, yes?

We've been trying for decades to no avail. The big guys simply have too much money and can easily bribe their way through any representative democracy, while we don't.

Re:this is an EU concept... (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610622)

Let us have more rule of law and less rule of men, yes?

Laws are written by men. Rule of law is just rule of men by proxy.

The sins of others??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610176)

'cos, of course, it's entire fair and proper to sue someone for something SOMEONE ELSE has done. Plus, it's easier to sue someone domestically (in the US) than it is to go after the overseas offenders. *sigh*

Fucking M$... If we learnt anything from the 90's, using litigation as a revenue stream is stupid and dangerous.

cost of having EVERYTHING blocked all the time? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610184)

deepends on which fake math you're using. on life & liberty abucus, it's reaching the uncountable level. if one uses fuddle's special georgia stone freemason math, the cost, is most of us, & the remainder are calculated as subscription hostages/harmless.

Fair enough... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610186)

...then U.S. companies should also be prohibited from selling goods manufactured or obtained from companies overseas who don't follow all the other U.S. laws, not just copyright laws. This would include all U.S. laws regarding the environment, labor, accounting, etc. Why pick and choose?

What could go wrong?

Re:Fair enough... (1)

qbast (1265706) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610314)

Oh just seal your damn borders and be done with it.

And.. (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610192)

...Microsoft SUES ITSELF and bites its own tail CLEAN OFF.

Good thing they don't sell Windows XP anymore (5, Interesting)

Gubbe (705219) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610194)

I'm sure Sound Forge authors are just waiting for this law to pass.
Seeing as under this law they could sue Microsoft for big bucks! [techpavan.com]

Re:Good thing they don't sell Windows XP anymore (2)

FrostDust (1009075) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610286)

Actually, it looks like the proposed law covers customers downstream from the company that uses pirated software.

In this case, it seems like Soundforge would be able to seek damages from any company that licenses Windows XP.

Re:Good thing they don't sell Windows XP anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610540)

Which would make more of an impact, I suspect, than suing Microsoft over it.

Re:Good thing they don't sell Windows XP anymore (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610544)

If the summary is correct then no, this only comes into play if an overseas company has violated copyright. Actually it isn't correct, but you have to bounce on to Seattle Times [nwsource.com] to find out that it doesn't just affect overseas companies.

If you can't get the overseas company, go upstream (2)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610196)

Perhaps this should be a model for how to get at companies that are otherwise out of US jurisdiction. It would only be reasonable to discourage them from conducting business with those entities.

How about expanding this a bit more to include other practices, such that it makes a de facto offshoring ban?

Just silly... (4, Insightful)

goodgod43 (1993368) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610206)

How are they going to prove that the foreign company used Excel instead of Open Office? Or is the idea to force the entire world have to purchase Microsoft licenses just to do business in America?

Re:Just silly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610280)

Easy. Just look at the files the foreign company sends - it should be easy enough to fingerprint an office document to determine if it was written by excel or another package. If it's an excel document, check the sales receipts - did the company buy Office licences? If no, sue away. Or, more realistically, threaten to sue any US company that does business with the offender. Most would back down and cease the business relationship to avoid legal action.

"An offer you cannot refuse" gamut (4, Informative)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610212)

This is a good way for companies with large law departments to cudgel smaller businesses. Just like how the endangered species act is misused sometimes, find some product, no matter how esoteric, that a company used that might be called into question, then threaten to sue that company out of existence unless they take an offer to be bought out.

This would be a field day for law departments. If one thought the patent lawsuits flying back and fourth with the phone company makers is insane, wait until the lawsuits because a bolt made from an offshore company just might be considered being made with a bogus copy of XP Embedded on the CNC mill.

For those not of the bar association, it means higher prices for everything (since companies have to pay bucks to CYA, and create additional internal auditing divisions, or fight these claims.) It also raises the barrier for entry for small businesses.

It will be interesting to see who will end up the lawmakers' master on this one. Companies who don't want the trouble of additional IP regulation, versus the usual people who keep fighting for more Draconian IP laws to protect their tired old stuff. This might get interesting because it may pit well-heeled lobbyists against other lobbyists of companies who just don't want the legal liability if this law passes.

Re:"An offer you cannot refuse" gamut (5, Interesting)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610238)

IANAL, but as I see it basically Microsoft could sue ANYONE. I doubt that there is any business in the United States that doesn't have some part somewhere that was made by a Chinese company that didn't pirate something Microsoft along the way. If the burden is on the company to prove they didn't do anything wrong then you've got a great formula for putting small businesses into bankruptcy.

We don't only have a class war in the U.S., we have a war between big and small businesses.

Re:"An offer you cannot refuse" gamut (5, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610294)

Nail, head hit.

This proposed law would instantly make Microsoft billions. If done right, companies would have to prove their supplies didn't use pirated products in order to not get sued.

It also will force companies to buy Microsoft products for CYA reasons. This happened with Sarbanes-Oxley and the fact that operating systems on up had to have some sort of compliance (FIPS, Common Criteria) in order for IT departments to show due diligence. This caused wholesale migrations to Windows just for this reasons.

I can see companies not just moving to MS, but demanding their supplies be Microsoft based, so they can show that they are compliant.

Big win for MS, big win for businesses with lots of lawyers, small businesses now are easily destroyed should they show some innovation that can't be bought up easily.

Plus, if one of the copyright lawsuits for an insane amount does go through, a company can easily owe Microsoft trillions, especially with the precedents seen with LimeWire and other cases.

Actually makes a lot of sense. (0)

immakiku (777365) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610228)

But it'd be really difficult to enforce. Probably the effect of it will be that US companies will audit their suppliers for violating licenses - this will be a good thing.

Re:Actually makes a lot of sense. (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610270)

Not all U.S. companies are huge corporations that can do this. Non-profits can't afford this either.

Tax (2)

LavouraArcaica (2012798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610230)

Since I pay taxes for my properties (house, car, ...) would be nice if copyright owners pay taxes for they intelectual 'properties' every single year. ;)

Re:Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610448)

+1

Good point.

Re:Tax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610642)

Agreed.

If the property has value, why aren't you paying property tax?

If it doesn't have that kind of value, then why are you suing?

Maybe I should reclassify my car and home to be _intelectual_ property.
It'd save me a bundle every year!

"This isn't a car. It's a song!"

And the winner is ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610242)

Open source ...

Clearly it's obviously hypocritical and downright ridiculous from MS, but it seems to me if, under some absurd circumstance, the law came to pass, it would just encourage overseas entities to use free software (which they should be doing anyway).

Fine (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610252)

Then I'll just order my stuff from a company who run's Linux. At least then my order wont crash from a blue screen.

Free Market Economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610256)

This is what these giant corporations want. No laws or gov't regulation. Ooops, wait sorry my bad. I guess that only applies when it helps them specifically.

Re:Free Market Economy (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610636)

This is what these giant corporations want.

Big corporations _LOVE_ regulation, because the costs keep smaller, smarter, more innovative competitors out of the market. Big business and big government are not enemies, they're symbiotic organisms.

fuddles is a freemason, chosen one? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610278)

he uses their life0cidal 'math' in his eugenics schemes etc.. many participants in our depopulationing are merely infactdead with greed, as well as fear, so more money/less people calculates well.

Good (1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610296)

I'm for ANY law which punishes unfair competition by liars, thieves and cheats overseas. As it were, the mainland Chinese in particular have shown themselves incapable of playing by the rules, and since the Chinese government are so hell bent on shielding their people from the consequences of their actions (under the aegis of "non interference" and "sovereignty"), I think it's completely reasonable to, as a second choice, to penalize businesses who benefit from unfair and dishonest Third World business practices.

I say, Microsoft, fire away, with our blessing.

Re:Good (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610474)

I'm for ANY law which punishes unfair competition by liars, thieves and cheats overseas.

Except, this is punishing a company for the actions of its suppliers ... actions which the company at risk of being sued has no control or influence over (and quite possibly no knowledge).

This is not "if you steal our stuff and sell a product in our country we sue you" ... this is "if you buy from someone who steals our stuff, you are liable for it". This is 3rd party liability.

So, if I hire you to paint my house, and you are in arrears on your child support, I can be held liable for your child support. Or, if I hire you to design my web page, and I assume that in good faith you've paid for your development tools but you've pirated them, I can be sued for hiring you and not policing your software licenses.

This is not cracking down on people who pirate software ... this is cracking down on people who have business arrangements with people who might have pirated software. This is an incredibly stupid law, and it grossly skews everything in favor of Microsoft.

Everybody else is now on the hook for what 3rd parties do in terms of software licenses and intellectual property. That is just plain old bullshit.

Seriously, read the Groklaw piece. Nothing good comes from a law like this.

Labor Laws (2)

dakkon1024 (691790) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610302)

Just wait till this logic gets applied to labor laws.

No just no (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610306)

Lawyers already have enough work to keep them in practice for the next ten years even if no new cases are filed. Stop with this madness already.

almost impossible to prove (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610312)

And besides, too likely to become circular, Microsoft could sue companies who sold them software in the first place!!

"Now that I bought your property and I know you have money, I'm just gonna take my cash back"

Brilliant! I love this law! (2, Funny)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610342)

This is absolutely brilliant, a stroke of genius. With a large part of everything being made in China, and piracy absolutely rampant in China this could an incredible effect on restoring jobs to this country. Microsoft has also just figured out how to resolve the outsourcing problem (that they greatly contributed to making) that has wrecked this countries economy and sold out it's future. This may be the best jobs program this country has ever seen, we should spread this idea around.

Just as many republicans contributed to Nader in 2000 to defeat Gore, we should contribute financially to seeing this law successfully implemented. Now we just need to get the AFL-CIO and similar organizations to back this.

Re:Brilliant! I love this law! (1)

Reprint001 (1838702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610628)

US companies go to China because it's cheaper - a lot cheaper. Bringing the work back to the US will certainly create more US jobs, but these workers are a) much more expensive and b) the US companies that will receive all this new work won't have the same buying power as the Chinese ones. Your $40,000 SUV will soon cost you $80,000 because Ford just can't afford to make it so cheap any more. Assuming you're a US resident... do you really love it?

Decline of a species (1)

Coisiche (2000870) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610352)

So as more and more just comes down to arguments between lawyers we approach a singularity (and no, not the good one) where the only business will be the exchange of money through court cases. All innovation will just stop. I'm glad I'm probably more than half way through my life.

Justice (1)

Trivial Solutions (1724416) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610360)

Near as I can tell, God does justice. Piracy seems like theft to me.

God says...
reached hearted temptation fluctuating loseth entireness
superstitious detain lustfulness Clearly dare hereon embraces
smile faileth toss inspired tasteth saw

Hey Microsoft! Get responsible for your own! (1)

ekimminau (775300) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610368)

If Microsoft knows a company is using a pirate copy of their software, I have no responsability for A) tracking another entities software use or B) their licensing status. I find this not just rediculous. It is placing Microsoft's burden on companies that may not even be Microsoft's customers. But I can tell you this. Im a Global Architect at a huge US car company. If this passes, I will be making it known on a daily basis that my employer should explore alternative solutions to Microsoft products. Now the MSGM relationship really isn't an appropriate model for this dicussion since GM probably requires indemnification from any lawsuits from any vendor as part of their standard terms and conditions before allowing any product in as a standard. So even in MS did get this passed, GM probably wouldn't care because MS would indemnify GM from MS's suit. The rest of you are all phucked.

Suing itself (2)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610394)

So, if one of Microsoft's Optical media replicators shipping company(based in China) uses pirated software to ship the media from China to Microsoft, where Microsoft sells this media in US, who would MS sue?

Good (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610396)

So if whoever in asia that assembles Xboxes uses a pirated version of my naked-ladies calendar to know what day it is. I can sue microsoft in the US for unfair competition?

Makes perfect sense.

But other things are ok, right? (2)

X.25 (255792) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610400)

But importing Nike shoes made by 14 years old kid is perfectly fine, I guess. Or importing Uranium mined in Namibia or Nigeria, where workers are pretty much guaranteed to die. Or iPhones made by modern slaves in factories.

Good to see that America, the land of the free, has their priorities straight.

Considering how software licensing works currently (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610416)

I'm not sure what the purpose of this law is other than to act as a rather larger stick to beat companies with.

Consider this: the legalese for most software licenses is borderline incomprehensible at the best of times. It's not simply a matter of "one license per PC", you've got Client Access Licenses, you've got products which are essentially the same but the difference lies in the licensing, you've got products which explicitly allow you to install them on more than one PC in certain circumstances (hello Adobe), you've got products which are straightforward enough in their own right but in order to use them you require some other product which is also licensed.

I don't believe it's physically possible to use commercial software in any but the smallest of organisations and at the same time be 100% correct in your licensing of it.

If you're prepared to accept this, then laws such as this start to sound dangerously close to legalised extortion : "Nice company you've got here. Be a shame if anything were to happen to it."

It's turtles all the way down... (1)

Reprint001 (1838702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610420)

How far does this go? What if GM buys a bolt from a legitimate Chinese bolt manufacturer who bought the steel rod from a legitimate Chinese company who bought the raw steel from an Australian steel refinery that uses a cranky old PC with pirated Windows XP to run their invoicing software?

In the sage words of Austin Powers: (1)

Dishwasha (125561) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610438)

Well I vana toilet made out of solid gold, but it's just not in the cards now is it?

M$ would loose (1)

lc_overlord (563906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610440)

if the law was enacted it would take a whole 45 seconds for someone to find an instance in where Microsoft did something with pirated software and then sue them relentlessly.
in fact pretty much everyone could sue everyone, even i with the microscopic amounts of software i made could sue everyone that sells everything from apple products to jet fighters, so no this is a non issue, it will never pass and if it did the courts would trow every case out the window for being really unpractical.
there are pirated software on every computer and i think in a lot of those cases Microsoft put it there.

Practical Concerns (1)

Nailer235 (1822054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610460)

It seems like it would be difficult to determine whether a Chinese company is using pirated software, unless there is some term in the software's EULA which requires all corporate entities to register their products (which there very well could be). But even with that potential exception, it can't be assumed that the company is using a Microsoft product - there are a ton of various (some free) spreadsheet editors that the foreign company could be using. Furthermore, a Chinese company is outside of the US's jurisdiction and won't be subject to discovery proceedings and we can't subpoena any witnesses from the company itself. While I definitely think this law is a good thing - and that we shouldn't allow foreign companies to unfairly cut costs by stealing software - the practical implications of this law don't seem as massive as initially presumed.

Could this backfire? (1)

vampirbg (1092525) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610498)

So, if any of the MS programmers outside of US used a pirated version of any program to work on Windows (not as impossible as it seems. just look at SoundForge) MS should be open to lawsuits. In any case, anyone can sue MS now, and it's on them to prove that they haven't done anything wrong. I know that it's contrary to the notion of being presumed innocent, but it'd have no chance of working the other way round. How would you prove that, for example, a company in China used pirated software if you can't audit them and check? You can't even summon them to court. All they have to say is that they've checked and that there is no pirated software. You can't call their bluff. Bullish as they are, American government can't just send their investigators everywhere they want. It would piss too many people off...

Illegal immigration hurts in the same way (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610508)

Those companies willing to hire illegal aliens has the same cost advantage, even if those companies are just contractors for 'responsible' employers. Perhaps we should fine the companies (or jail the actionable people) who hire a 'temp agency' or 'cleaning service' in an effort to skirt employment laws? How it's not already considered a RICO violation, I have no idea. Oh, btw, I'm all for immigration reform, of nearly any sort.

creators' newclear powered kode free forever (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610532)

still some quirks, doesn't work at all for the walking dead et al, as they just seem determined to find a way to bugger it, &/or make it not free. it's self protective, so that's good.

not what we're used to (point, click repeat), this stuff does not even require a gadget (although some are proving to have use). hard to believe it's real/being distributed world wide already, after only a few centuries of development?

Call me sceptical (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610548)

My best guess is, that this will trigger contracts that say: "supplier vows to abide by IP laws". The vendor that buys products from the supplier then just claims they didn't know about it (they really don't care). Then they testify (truthfully) that they did their due diligence and acted in good faith.

How do you want to sue someone when they act in good faith and have no knowings of what the supplier on the other half of the word is breaking the contract? Do you want to make supplier audits mandatory? Don't be ridiculous.

And if a law is passed that enables the suing of the companies when someone exposed the supplier, this opens a whole can of post factum liability worms.

The other thing is, that China is only vocal about IP laws, but the industry mostly depends on shallow enforcement. So I really doubt that it will be easy to expose suppliers if it has bad consequences for Chinese companies.

Open source specificall targetted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610560)

If you read the article, it gets even more shocking. The proposed law would specifically exclude open source licenses. If someone pirates GPL software, it doesn't apply.

Authors like FOSS and Shareware authors? (0)

bl8n8r (649187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610576)

Microsoft has become a douche. In Microsoft's eyes, anyone *not* writing applications for the Windows platform is a "Pirate".

Software license (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35610616)

I don't get it, If the chinese bought a legitimate copy of Windows and installed
it on 1 billion computers, what piracy has been done?

mind the... (1)

queBurro (1499731) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610618)

so, child labour's ok? but if they start playing minesweeper in their lunch 5 minutes there'll be trouble...

Unique precedent (1)

palpatine (94) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610638)

I see this creating a precedent whereby any damaged party could sue a U.S. company for importing / selling any products made overseas by manufacturers who have broken laws in their home country, including environmental. Say good-bye to pretty much anything sold in the U.S.

Somebody should audit Microsoft (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610646)

Simple fact is Microsoft does have some outside software.

I would like to see some company buying a Microsoft product ask Microsoft to do a full audit of all their software for licenses under this requirement.
I want every desktop and corporate mobile device in Microsoft reported and individually inspected for what software is installed. Then I want information on the license status of all software on that device. Also as they continually buy Microsoft products Microsoft is going to have to repeat the audit every month.

Every business that buys Microsoft software should ask for a copy of that information. That would be pretty much every company in the world. It would be nice if they all asked for a different reporting format.

justice (1)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35610650)

I'd like to propose a more equitable law. When a big company screws enough people with crap like this we take the corporate officers and the board of directors out into the street and bludgeon them.

Step right up Ballmer, you're first.

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